There are many ways to slice and dice election results—especially in midterm elections where all 435 seats in the US House of Representatives are on the ballot, in addition to about a third of the US Senate, 36 of the 50 state governorships, 46 state legislatures, and numerous other state and local races. And while it is true that “the midterm election of 2014 was entirely in keeping with the partisan kaleidoscope that has characterized American national elections since 1980” (Shafer, Wagner, & Engle, 2014, p. 608), several important trends, headlines, and milestones were marked in 2014: Democrats suffered significant and humbling defeats; historically low turnout (especially among groups that tend to vote Democratic) propelled a sweeping Republican wave; billions of dollars were spent airing millions of ads; the battle over control of the Senate majority resulted in closely fought races in several states including Alaska, which experienced the most expensive race in US history on a per-vote basis; unprecedented amounts of “dark money” linked to outside groups were used to buy television advertisements; working-class White voters continued their decades-long defection from the Democratic Party; and Republicans devoted substantial time and resources to catch up with Democrats in the use of digital and social media. The goal of this chapter is to expound on these trends and describe what happened in 2014 in terms of media, messaging, and mobilization.
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- Media, Message, and Mobilization: Political Communication in the 2014 Election Campaigns
John Allen Hendricks
- Palgrave Macmillan US
- Chapter 1